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High-altitude tree planting

Beginning in 1992, KSP has incorporated tree planting and environmental education programs into most of its treks, and indigenous species, such as spruce, fir, hemlock and rhododendron, have been planted.

The method is simple, but tediously slow and labor intensive. First, school students and teachers collect small seeds from the forest floor. Then, a designated nursery-man constructs a temporary seedling nursery away from the general traffic of village life, but close to a reliable water source. The seeds are placed in potted soil under a protective plastic tarp, surrounded by makeshift fencing, which helps protect from inadvertent trampling. During the monsoon, these seedlings are encouraged to germinate with a regular program of watering.

Often success depends on when and where the seedlings are transplanted into the forest. The young, fragile plants need time to develop an adequate root system before being disturbed, yet also need time to settle into their new location before facing the rigors of winter. Larger trees afford protection, but the seedlings also need sunlight. Learning where to place the trees has been a matter of trial and error.

Possible future projects include apple and orange orchards at lower altitudes to provide a nutritional supplement and a potential source of income.

Suitably qualified volunteers are needed to continue these projects.